Xofigo (Radium-223 dichloride) Treatment in Advanced Stage Prostate Cancer

One of the places where prostate cancer spreads most in the body is bone structures. In addition to progression of the disease, this causes pain and decreased quality of life. Radium 223 is a radioactive agent used in bone metastases of prostate cancer, preferred in patients resistant to hormonal therapy. 

What is the aim of Ra-223 treatment? How does it work? 

Radium 223 administered intravenously is intensely absorbed by (metastatic) bones to which the disease has spread and acts to kill cancer cells with its high energy. The aim is to destroy cancer cells in the bones. Radium 223 treatment has no effect on the disease in other regions except bone structures. Acting similar to calcium in the body, it's taken up in bone structures, and more intensely taken up especially in compromised areas. Through this mechanism, alpha radiation, which will destroy cancer cells, reaches its target in the bones. Since it spreads to a very short distance in the tissue, it does not cause damage to intact organs. Patients' bone pain is significantly relieved and an improvement is observed in their daily activities. Studies conducted on prostate cancer patients with bone metastases have shown that this treatment provides increased life span and quality and pain control. 

How is the treatment planned and applied? 

Before the treatment is planned, a bone scan (scintigraphy) is performed to ensure that the radioactive agent will target the correct area during treatment. 
Blood tests are performed before treatment. 
It is important that you inform your doctor who will apply the treatment about the medications you use, as the treatment may interact with some medications. 
The recommended ideal treatment is in the form of 6 courses 4 weeks apart.
It is administered slowly through the vascular access. It does not require hospital stay.

Things to consider after the treatment 

•    After Radium 223 treatment, no considerable radiation is spread to outside so no special restrictions are required. 
•    The patient can resume daily activities but hygiene rules must be observed. 
•    As it's excreted from the body in small amounts through urinary tract in the first few hours after the treatment and excreted in feces in the following days, you should observe hygiene rules particularly during toilet use.  
•    You should drink plenty of water. 

No severe side effects occur.

Side effects such as hair loss are not expected in patients.  You may have edema, minor nausea-vomiting but these are temporary and controllable side effects. Your blood values may decrease.  Apart from these, no significant side effects are observed. You're advised to use contraceptive methods within 6 months after treatment. 

Improves quality of life, reduces pain

Radium 223, which has been shown to control cancer cells spreading to bones, relieves bone pain and decreases use of painkillers, decreases PSA levels, improves patients' daily activities, quality of life and life expectancy, and it's one of the important treatment options we have.

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